I am trying to find out fun or exciting ways to teach flips, slides, and turns to my 3rd graders. If any one has some ideas i would definately appreciate it.

I had cut out lots of multiple letters (their initials would work) in advance. They worked in teams to make each type, after I modeled for them. If I remember correctly, for flips they made and labeled a page of some mirror reversals in pairs. For slides, a page of cut out letters that started out on top of each other but were glued down as they would look when they slid off of each other (next to each other). Turns were the hardest, because they required a pin. They pushed a straight pin through one point of the letters and then fanned them out to show they rotate on a given point.

(I'm doing this without looking at any of my notes or samples, so if I made any mistakes with what each one is, I apologize in advance.)

I usually die-cut the letter "F" for each student to have two. We practice showing slides, flips, and turns with the "F"s on the desks, and then I assign them to do a slide, flip, or turn on their paper. They glue one "F" down as the original and then drew an arrow and then glue the other one as the slide, flip, or turn. I hope that makes sense. The kids really enjoy it and I find that some letters are better than others. "F" is just my favorite.

I like the die-cut idea. I don't have a trustworthy computer, so using the website is out for me (even though it is a great site). What other letters could I use? I may have groups do differing letters.

I think F is best because it's really easy to see the flip and turn with it. E is a bad one because if students do an up and down flip it looks exactly the same. I'd imagine any letter that doesn't have symmetry would work well.

I used student bodies to show slides, flips, and turns. They love getting out of their seats and acting in front of the class. For turns, they would face the class, then do a 180 so their back is toward the class. For slides, they would stay facing the class, and take a step (or slide) to the left or right. For flips, I would bring in a blanket and lay it on the floor. Then the student would lay on his/her back and flip over to his/her front. I would relate it to flipping over to get an even suntan. I've even had students rotate thru 3 stations so that every student gets to demonstrate each one. Depends on the size and rowdiness of your class, of course.

Then I moved into a pattern block activity and had students trace and slide, flip, turn different pattern blocks.

I am currently in my junior year studying Elementary Education. In my Methods of Teaching Mathematics class, we just talked about strategies on teaching flips, slides and turns. The teacher grouped us into pairs and gave each of us 5 blocks. She told us to arrange the blocks in as many ways as we could to find how many possible ways 5 blocks could be arranged (not focusing on order, such as red, blue, pink, yellow, purple). One way obviously was to have all the blocks in one line and another way was to have four in a line and with one on the end (L shape). She took a constructivist approach by not giving us any directions, only telling us that they had to be touching on one side (not two corners of the blocks touching). We figured out that an L shape constitutes as 1 way, regardless of how it's flipped. This was an interesting way to get us thinking about similarities of shapes (focusing on flips, slides and turns). Hope this helps! I feel manipulatives often elucidate mathematical confusion for students.